[News] With Rampant Plant Construction, TSMC Reportedly Expected to Revise Upward Capital Expenditure

2024-04-01 Semiconductors editor

The semiconductor battleground of the Angstrom Era has commenced earlier than expected, with TSMC advancing its plant expansions in Taiwan. As per Commercial Times citing sources, TSMC is poised to increase its 2024 capital expenditure from the initial estimate of USD 28-32 billion to USD 30-34 billion, marking a hike of over 7%.

TSMC’s continuous plant expansion includes the initiation of the first 2-nanometer plant in Hsinchu’s Baoshan facility in April, the addition of another 2-nanometer plant in Kaohsiung, and the commencement of construction for two advanced packaging plants in Chiayi. Furthermore, there are market rumors speculating that TSMC plans to build two more A14 plants in Kaohsiung.

According to industry sources cited by the report, TSMC’s earnings call on April 18th will mark a significant milestone as the company transitions to the next generation of manufacturing processes. Expectations are high for surprises in capital expenditure, second-quarter operating prospects, and the nomination list for new directors.

During TSMC’s January earnings call, they disclosed a capital expenditure estimate of approximately USD 28-32 billion for this year. However, with NVIDIA’s recent unveiling of the Blackwell architecture, advanced packaging has become almost indispensable for next-generation chips. Major customers for advanced packaging, including NVIDIA, Broadcom, Marvell, and AMD, are all closely linked to AI.

Per the same report citing sources, it’s revealed by Commercial Times citing sources near TSMC’s clients that the current waiting time remains as long as six months, as capacity ramp-up continues to chase demand. It is widely expected that TSMC will increase its capital expenditure, with the lower bound potentially surpassing USD 28 billion to over USD 30 billion.

From an operational standpoint, TSMC is expected to benefit this year from the surge in demand for artificial intelligence. Analysts predict that AI clients will support TSMC’s second-quarter revenue momentum, with the potential to deliver low single-digit quarterly growth.

Per the report citing sources, the positive outlook for TSMC’s second quarter can be attributed to several factors. These include stable demand for TSMC’s 4nm and 5nm processes with support from NVIDIA’s GPUs. Additionally, it is speculated that the 3nm process will benefit from cryptocurrency clients and early orders for Apple’s AI chips, boosting capacity utilization. Furthermore, there is an upward trend in the mature 16nm and 28nm processes.

Per the industry sources cited by the report, TSMC’s CoWoS capacity is fully booked until the first half of next year. This will drive up the revenue contribution from TSMC’s 3nm process. Furthermore, the outsourcing orders for Intel CPUs this year will further boost revenue growth.

Additionally, on June 4th, TSMC will hold elections for ten directors, including six independent directors. The list of director candidates is about to be announced, attracting significant attention to the new team lineup. With the current Chairman, Mark Liu, announcing his succession, and independent director K.C. Chen planning to retire, significant changes in the TSMC board of directors’ composition are anticipated.

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(Photo credit: TSMC)

Please note that this article cites information from Commercial Times.